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Commentary

Pawn shop smarts

Marketplace Contributor Dec 28, 2012
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My 14-year-old daughter announced the other day that she plans to be smart about money like her mom and dad. I didn’t tell her that my wife and I aren’t so much smart about money as we are cheap. But I did say, if you want to be smart about money go to a pawn shop, see what they’ve got the most of and never buy it. Almost by definition, everything you see in a pawn shop represents a mistake of some kind.

I thought of this because while waiting to get my tired rotated last week, I wandered into a pawn shop and from what I saw if you buy a bass guitar you are going to have financial trouble.

This pawn shop had 32 guitars, 22 were basses. I’m no psychologist but my guess is because women go for rock stars at least 22 guys figured — I’m not really musical, I can’t play guitar but maybe I can play bass. There’s two less strings, how hard can it be?

There was also every iteration of every device Apple’s ever made: Macs, iPods, iPhones, iPads… literally a hundred Apple products. It would appear Apple users are only happy when they have the latest version of everything from the Apple store but that also means they’re going to have lots of old versions to sell.
 
And then there were all those DVDs — aisles and aisles. When you bought that Adam Sandler movie did you really think you were going to watch it over and over again? How many times do you need to see “Spanglish?”

So, I came home from my free tire rotation, which took about 90 minutes because free means waiting — another economics lesson — and told my daughter about what I saw at the pawn shop and I told her if she wants to be smart about money steer clear of DVDs and boys with bass guitars and certainly don’t covet everything Apple puts out, just get what you need. I told her that while holding up my seven-year-old iPod classic that still works fine.

And she shot back “Dad, how much do they want for one of those bass guitars? I have lunch with a really cool guy at school who thinks he should be in a rock band.”

I don’t know if my 14-year-old daughter is going to be smart about money, but she is already smart enough to know how to send her dad into a panic.

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